Advancing Allergy Free Living

Dust Mites

Dust mites are a normal part of almost every household (even the cleanest of homes); and are the most common culprit to allergy and asthma symptoms. The normal life span of a dust mite ranges between two to four months. The dust mite population increases very rapidly with egg-laying females increasing the population by 25 to 30 mites every three weeks.

Where are dust mites found?
Dust mites thrive in warm, humid or damp conditions where humidity levels exceed 70% and room temperatures range between 68°F and 84°F. They live on a diet of dead skin scales, which we and our pets shed daily. They are invisible to the naked eye and can inhabit mattresses, pillows, blankets, upholstered furniture, stuffed animals, and old clothing. Even new mattresses, pillows, quilts, and carpets marked “Allergy Free” may soon build up house dust mites.

Because the fecal matter from dust mites is so tiny and light, it easily becomes airborne when disturbed by someone walking on the carpet, sitting in an upholstered chair, rolling over in bed, or vacuuming and dusting. Once airborne the fecal matter eventually becomes part of normal house dust and settles onto numerous items in the home.

Will killing the dust mites reduce my symptoms?
You must treat the allergen itself to reduce your allergy and asthma symptoms. Many people believe that by treating their home with products that kill the dust mite itself it will help them minimize their allergic reactions. This is a common misconception. Allergic reactions are caused by the dust mites fecal matter (waste) and decomposing bodies not the dust mites themselves. Even after the mite dies, its fecal particles remain in the home and it’s disintegrating body parts are still allergenic and easily airborne.

Suggested Environmental Controls

  • Keep humidity levels below 70%.
  • Remove carpeting if at all possible.
  • Enclose mattresses, pillows, and box springs in zippered encasings – cloth tape can be placed over the zipper of the encasings for added protection.
  • Wash all bedding weekly in hot water (130°F) or an anti-allergen laundry detergent such as Allersearch® Allergen Wash™ which has the same effect of hot water in any water temperature.
  • Vacuum frequently. Remember to vacuum all areas of the house including windowsills, molding, and areas dust can be collected.
  • Treat carpeting and upholstery with an allergen neutralizing solution such as Allersearch® ADS™, Allersearch® X-Mite® (which both use a tannic acid solution), or Allersearch® ADMS™ (which uses an oxidizing compound) to neutralize the allergens.